Murderer, kidnapper and rapist Wayne Couzens will today learn his fate after killing York woman Sarah Everard.

Lord Justice Fulford was due to to pass sentence today (Thursday) against the former police officer after lawyers at the Old Bailey give Couzens' mitigation.

Couzens, who admitted murdering former Fulford School pupil Sarah, faces a possible whole life order.

Yesterday, on the first day of the two-day hearing, the Old Bailey heard how Couzens used Covid-19 lockdown regulations to kidnap Sarah in a “false arrest” before raping her, strangling her and burning her body.

Couzens sat in the dock with his head bowed as Tom Little QC, prosecuting, described how he had murdered Sarah.

“Whilst it is impossible to summarise what the defendant did to Sarah Everard in just five words, if it had to be done then it would be more appropriate to do so as deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire,” said Mr Little.

York Press:

He told a courtroom packed with people including Sarah’s family that the 33-year-old marketing executive was on her way home after visiting a friend’s house in Clapham when she was abducted on the evening of March 3.

A former long-term boyfriend had described her as “extremely intelligent, savvy and streetwise” and “not a gullible person”.

The boyfriend had said he could not envisage her getting into a car with someone she did not know “unless by force or manipulation”, said Mr Little.

Before the murder Couzens had booked a hire car, the barrister added.

“His movements were consistent with the defendant looking for, or hunting, for a lone young female to kidnap and rape, which is precisely what he did.”

When he saw Sarah, the 48-year-old serving police officer, showed her his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card before handcuffing and kidnapping her.

A passing couple witnessed the kidnapping but mistook it for an arrest by an undercover officer, the court heard.

Mr Little said: “She was detained by fraud, the defendant using his warrant card and handcuffs as well as his other police issue equipment to affect a false arrest.

“The fact she had been to a friend’s house for dinner at the height of the early 2021 lockdown made her more vulnerable to and more likely to submit to an accusation that she had acted in breach of the Covid regulations in some way,” said Mr Little.

Couzens had worked on uniformed Covid patrols in late January to enforce coronavirus regulations, so would have known what language to use to those who may have breached them, he continued.

He is thought to have been wearing his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch, similar to a pepper spray holder, when he kidnapped Sarah.

Couzens drove her to a remote rural area north-west of Dover in Kent, where he raped her.

By 2.30am the next morning he had strangled her with his police belt, said Mr Little.

Couzens burned her body in a refrigerator in an area of woodland he owned in Hoads Wood, near Ashford, Kent, before putting the remains in a nearby pond.

The Old Bailey yesterday heard victim impact statements from Sarah's parents and sister. 

Jeremy Everard demanded that his daughter's killer look at him as he delivered an emotional statement in court.

He told Couzens: "I can never forgive you for what you have done, for taking Sarah away from us.

"You burnt our daughter's body - you further tortured us - so that we could not see her again."

Sarah's mother Susan said she was "haunted" by the horror of her daughter's murder.

Sarah's sister Katie Everard described Couzens as a "monster".

Couzens, of Deal, has pleaded guilty to murder, rape and kidnap. Lord Justice Fulford will pass sentence today.

York Press:

Couzens' actions sparked massive demonstrations about the safety of women on the streets and a social media hashtag “she was just walking home”.